Long have I guarded you, the treasures
of the study. My ink brush,
ink, paper, ink stone. After the exhibition in Kuala Lumpur,
I drank shots of Xifengjiu. Tonight, I sang in the airport bus.
Still half drunk, I boarded, ready
to carry you home.
When we lost communication, I held you, painting
the three symbols of crisis, ending
with an upward sweep. As smoke began seeping
from the pilot’s cabin, I drew fire: A tree standing
in flame. As I breathed smoke, I knew I had to begin
the symbols to drag us toward death. I wonder
in the thousands of years of our art, how many others have passed on
holding you, ready to finish the last stroke of